Dr. Rupert Sheldrake is an English biologist, biochemist, researcher, author and polemicist. Known for his theory of morphic resonance and his study of plant and animal behaviour, memory, cognition, telepathy, dreams and the afterlife, Sheldrake’s work has helped to further broaden science’s perspective on consciousness, evolution, the mind and the supernatural.
Rupert inherited his interest in plants and animals from his father, a pharmacist and naturalist. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was awarded the University Botany Prize, and studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University. He returned to Cambridge to obtain a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was a Frank Knox fellow at Harvard and a fellow of Clare College at Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. He was a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, where did research on the development of plants and cells. He received the Perrott-Warrick Scholarship for psychical and parapsychology from 2005 to 2010. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Academinc Director for the Learning and Thinking Program at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut.
Sheldrake studied rain forest plants in Malaysia and spent a decade working at the International Crops Research Institute in India, where he developed new systems now used by farmers. He has a long-running experiment collecting data on how dogs ‘know’ when their masters are coming home, and another on the human capacity to sense being stared at from a distance. He retains an interest in subjects as diverse as the nature of consciousness, the migration of birds and animals over vast distances, Chinese medicine, family group healing, and the mystery of crystal formation.
Central to Rupert Sheldrake’s work is his theory of ‘morphic resonance.’ It proposes that there is a field within and around any living form which organizes its structure and pattern of activity. Any particular form will tune into its respective ‘morphic field’ via a memory exchange process (morphic resonance), at once drawing data in for its own development and depositing data into the field for evolutionary purposes. According to Sheldrake this model offers a new perspective on evolution and an addition to Darwin’s processes of selection, and may serve to explain Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious.
The author of 11 books and over 80 scientific papers, Sheldrake’s publications include A New Science of Life; The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature; The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God; Seven Experiments That Could Change the World; Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home; The Sense of Being Stared At; and his most recent, Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery (published as The Science Delusion in the UK). He has also co-authored Natural Grace: Dialogues on Science and Spirituality and The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet with Matthew Fox.
Sheldrake has been a columnist for the Guardian and has been published namely in The Times, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Sunday Times, Huffington Post, New Scientist, the Ecologist and the Spectator. He has made radio and television appearances in Britain and overseas. He was a subject of BBC’s documentary series called Heretic and participated in the PBS series A Glorious Accident.
Though he has been called “Cambridge’s biochemistry don” and one of the brightest Darwinians of his generation, Sheldrake’s theories have also sparked their share of controversy over the years; he has been described as a heretic and a proponent of pseudoscience by members of the scientific community. His latest talk at a TEDx event in London under the theme of “Challenging Existing Paradigms” was pulled from the organization’s innovative ideas video bank for its challenging views on the scientific approach, to be later reintroduced within a framed discussion context.
Visit his website:
On his book Science Set Free (4.5 min)
The Science Delusion (TED, 18 min)
Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields and Systemic Family Constellations (7 min)